Hormones are chemical messengers which control different functions of the body. Hormones have different jobs. They can control growth and development, sexual function, reproduction, metabolism, sleep, cognitive function, moods and more.
We mostly talk about ‘hormones’ when discussing the changes we go through in puberty and in women’s menstrual cycles. They also play a huge part in the menopause.
The menopause is a natural part of aging, where a woman stops getting her periods and is no longer fertile. It can be a slow process or happen suddenly. The menopause tends to happen to women in their 40s or 50s but can happen at a younger age. Around 1 in 100 women go through the menopause before they are 40 years old.
It can be a challenging time. The menopause marks a new stage in a woman’s life, the end of her natural fertility, and comes with some not so pleasant symptoms.
Many going through the menopause experience hot flushes and night sweats, anxiety and low moods, trouble sleeping, a decrease in sex drive, vaginal dryness and lapses in concentration. These symptoms can start months or years before periods come to an end and can persist for a long while after.
CBD research is still in its infancy, and larger scale studies are needed before we know the full facts. But early studies show CBD could be a helpful tool in addressing symptoms of the menopause.
Serotonin: the happiness hormone
Serotonin is the key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness. Low levels of serotonin are often associated with depression and anxiety. A 2014 study shows that CBD activates serotonin receptors and appears to give anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects.
You may find that once anxiety is tackled, and moods are lifted, this could have a knock-on effect to other menopausal symptoms. Anxiety can knock your libido. So with the help of some serotonin supporting CBD, you could reconnect with your partner in the bedroom once again.
Hot flushes have a neurochemical basis, and some antidepressants can help relieve them. There are no studies yet which test CBD for its effect hot flushes, but its influence on serotonin may just be the key to why some women report it easing this symptom for them personally.
Cortisol: the fight or flight hormone
Those who suffer from insomnia or disturbed sleep are often found to have much higher levels of cortisol at night. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone which readies the body for fight or flight. One study on CBD’s impact on sleep shows that cortisol levels decreased significantly when patients took CBD orally. Many people take CBD oil to aid their sleep [LINK TO SLEEP BLOG], and it may be worth a try if this is an issue for you.
Memory and concentration
A 2020 study found that CBD increased cerebral blood flow to key regions of the brain involved in memory processing, particularly to the hippocampus. The researchers found reaction times on the working memory test significantly reduced when CBD was used. It is still early days on understanding how CBD can affect memory, so whilst this study was small, it indicates some potential which should be researched further.
The truth is, hormone imbalances can affect men and women at any point in our lives. Women are most likely to be affected by hormone fluctuations as we go through menstrual cycles, pregnancy, labour, breastfeeding and the menopause. Hormone imbalances can have a huge impact on a person. Hormonal imbalances have, for instance, been linked to post-natal depression.
So can CBD help us to regulate our hormones better?
There are signs that CBD could help. CBD stimulates our endocannabinoid system which is closely linked to our endocrine system. It is our endocrine system which produces hormones. We look forward to more research being conducted in this area.
Increasingly, people are turning to CBD as a natural treatment for hormone related problems. Please do share your story if you have found success using CBD for hormone related wellness.